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Kaduna Schools: Bandits Abduct 280 Pupils



National outrage as bandits abduct over 280 pupils and teachers of Government Secondary School and LEA primary school at Kuriga, Kaduna State.

According to a press briefing by
Amnesty International, the Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, and the House of Representatives on 7th March 2024 said that the bandits reportedly invaded the Kuriga community of the Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, shooting sporadically at the victims before at least carted away with 280 of the pupils and teachers from both schools.

They condemned the attack and asked the government to rescue the victims immediately.

The Congress news reports that the secondary school was relocated to the primary school on account of the insecurity in the community.

The incident occurred barely 24 hours after bandits abducted 200 internally displaced women in Borno State.

The women were abducted in Ngala, the headquarters of Gambarou Ngala in Borno State while fetching firewood in the bush.

The state Governor, Senator Uba Sani led senior government officials and the Heads of security agencies in the state to the scene of the attack on Thursday evening.

The governor gave the community assurance that those blood thirsty kidnappers would return the pupil and teachers unhurt.

He said he had communicated with the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu on the matter and that security operatives had swung into action in search of the abducted pupils.

Narrating his ordeal during the governor’s visit, Abdullahi said, “I resumed school today (Thursday) at exactly 7:47am. I entered the acting principal’s office and signed. All of a sudden, the acting principal asked me to look at my back and when I turned, we saw that bandits had surrounded the school premises.

“We we’re just confused. We didn’t know where to escape. Then, the abductors asked us to enter the bush, so we followed them because they were many and the pupils was about 700 that were following us. So, when we entered the bush, I was lucky to escaped with many other people.

“So, I returned to the village and reported what transpired to the community. So, immediately our vigilante and personnel of Kaduna State Vigilante Service (KSVS) followed the bandits, but, the kidnappers killed one of the vigilantes; we just buried him in the community burial ground.’’

One the teachers also explained that the vigilantes were making an efforts to identify those abducted.

“It was after we came back from the pursuit that we briefed the village head, then we started making efforts to know the number of pupils and teachers that was abducted by the bandits.

“At GSS Kuriga, 187 pupils are currently missing. In the primary school, 125 pupils were initially missing, but, 25 of them escaped and retired home,” he recounted.

According to him, “over 280 pupils and teachers have been abducted.’’

Congress news also gathered that the head teacher of the school as well as some other staff members were among those taken away by the bandits.

It was learnt that the incident happened around 8am shortly after morning assembly.

“Shortly after the assembly, the pupils in their hundreds ran out of their classes after sighting the hoodlums in large numbers on the school premises. They ran in different directions,” a resident, Adamu Shehu, told one of our correspondents on the telephone.

One the pupil simply identified as Ahmed who sustained gunshot injury that was rushed to the Birnin-Gwari General Hospital as being reported dead.

He was said to have died while receiving treatment at the hospital.

It was gathered that a military formation is close to where the incident occurred at Kuriga 1 near the troubled Birnin-Gwari but in Chikun LGA.

The governor further said “In my capacity as your elected governor, I am assuring you that by the grace of God, all the children will return unhurt.

“Before coming here, I spoke with the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, and we are making efforts, the security forces have swung into action, and by God’s grace, we will rescue the children.’’

Meanwhile, the JNI led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abukakar lll, described the abduction as unfortunate and barbaric.

The JNI Secretary-General, Prof Khalid Abukakar-Aliyu, also said the kidnap appeared to be an attempt by non-state actors to undermine government efforts in tackling insecurity in the country.

However, Prof Khalid urged the security department to rise to its feats by using all technological arsenals in the fight against kidnappers.

“Amnesty International condemns the appalling abduction of 200 primary and secondary school pupils and their teachers in #Kuriga Kaduna state. We are calling on the Nigerian authorities to safely rescue the students and hold the suspected perpetrators to book”.

The National President of the Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, said, “I show my concern as a father and I extend my grief to the parents of the children.

He also noted that, “I want the government of Kaduna, the Federal Government, and the local government area to come together to make sure these innocent children are safe, rescued, and returned to their parents”.

“The Governor of Kaduna should be held accountable and make sure these children are rescued. I want to also call on all the security apparatus to make sure these children are rescued.”

NUT laments

Also speaking, the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Dr Mike Ike-Ene, decry the incident as terrible and disappointing.

He added, “This is terrible. How did the kidnappers abducted 200 children? It is outrageous. I sympathise with the parents and guardians because, this is heart attack, high blood pressure, and others.

“If we have community policing, the bandits won’t have been kidnapping this outrageous numbers of pupil, this is alarming, How did they come into take 200 children? Who is playing the ostrich?”

He wondered how teachers who earned meagre salaries would raise the ransom for their abducted wards.

“We are not happy. The government should raise and use all means available to stop these individuals. People should always raise alarm if they sense danger too, when they notice strange things in the community,” he advised.

Senator Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna Central in the 8th National Assembly, expressed grief over the current incident.

He said no fewer than 232 were kidnapped by the hoodlums.

According to him, Kuriga was the same village where a school principal, Idris Sufyan, was killed and his wife kidnapped over a month ago.

One Bulama Bukarti, a Lawyer also condemned the federal and state governments for not responding to this tragedy.

He said, “Several reliable sources report that approximately 200 primary and secondary school students have been abducted by bandit terrorists from their school in Kuriga community of Kaduna State.

“This comes less than a week after the kidnapping of over 200 IDPs by Boko Haram in an IDP camp in Borno State. Days after the Borno incident, both the federal and Borno state governments had feel unconcerned.

The Deputy Speeker of the House of Representatives, Philip Agbase, said “All hands must be on deck this time to make sure every part of the country feel safe for all Nigerians to live and do business.’’

The lawmaker representing Benue State noted that the House has been working in close collaboration with security architecture while tweeting on his Instagram handle “The approach we have taken as a parliament is to collaborate, partner and work silently with the securities architecture to ensure that they deliver optimally’’.

“We have interacted with the service chiefs, particularly the Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Musa, and they told us what they are doing. But we know very well that security is not something that you just get involved in and get the fastest result in the shortest period.”

Experts lament

A security expert, Akin Adeyi, said the recurrence of the incident was due to the failure of the government to take decisive action on past kidnap incidents related to the abduction of school children.

While describing the development as unfortunate, Adeyi said the essence of punishing offenders was to serve as deterrence to others.

“You know the primary objective of what the kidnappers do is they want money. They want the parents to come and pay. It didn’t start during the life of this administration. It’s not going to be an easy task, but whatever efforts the government or law enforcement is making, it has to be consistent; we must not give up. But nobody can say this is the solution.”

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